The final concert of the 1980-81 season of the San Francisco Chamber Music Society featured the Francesco Trio with guest violist John Graham, performing both modern and classical chamber works. The concert began with Tōru Takemitsu’s “Hika”, a work which, according to the program guide “recalls the language of the Schoenberg school, with the large melodic leaps and the extreme shifts of register. The general avoidance of pitch repetition within single phrases tends to equalize the importance of all twelve tones. However, the delicacy of the writing and the general absence of loud or harsh sounds suggest an ‘oriental’ adaptation.” This is followed by another 20th century composition that shares the same title, albeit in English, Thea Musgrave’s “Elegy.” According to the program guide: “The ‘Elegy’ for viola and cello alternates between dialogue, improvised and declarative in nature, written in unmeasured meter, and sections which are rhythmically tight and structured, but which ultimately also become gestural.” This is followed by Joseph Haydn’s “Piano Trio in E Minor” a work with a first movement that is, according to the program guide “one of Haydn’s most dramatic” and which went against the generally accepted style of his times by “ending in the minor instead of turning to the major.” After a repeat performance of both the earlier two 20th century works, the concert then concludes with Robert Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E Flat Major, Op. 47”, performed by the San Francisco-based Francesco Trio of David Abel, violin, Bonnie Hampton, cello, and Nathan Schwartz, piano with the added assistance of John Graham on viola. This concert was recorded live on April 13, 1981 at the Fireman’s Fund Forum in San Francisco.
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